Libertarians from across Illinois gathered in Bloomington on Saturday to select candidates for November’s election.
The first contest was for Governor. Three people were seeking the nomination: Grayson “Kash” Jackson, Jon Stewart, and Matthew C. Scaro. Each was given a chance to speak.
Jackson elaborated on his slogan, “Restoring Freedom to Illinois” with quotes from America’s founders, Ben Franklin and James Madison, and a message of unity. “I do not see color, I do not see race, and I do not see political affiliation. My job is to be the vanguard — to willingly step into the fray for the common American. Wherever Constitutional freedoms are ignored, maimed, and disallowed, I will be there to hold those who attempt to strangle us with the yoke of such heinous acts… I will hold them accountable for their misdeeds.”
“My goal is to restore the balance between government and the rights of every citizen.”
Next up to the podium was Jon Stewart. He emphasized his pragmatism, 25 years of political experience, and positive relationship with the media. “We need to send out not just the best Libertarian to the public of Illinois, but the best overall candidate in general who can win in November.”
Last was Matthew C. Scaro. He told the crowd that freedom is something they are born with, not granted to them by the government. “I’m running for governor of the state of Illinois, but the truth is I don’t want to govern you. You all govern yourself just fine. I am here to govern the government itself. I am here to take away that power that they wield over you, that money that they steal from you every day.”
Voting began after the speeches. Candidates were required to receive a majority in order to win. The rules stated that if nobody received a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes would be removed from the ballot and a new round of voting would commence until someone got more than 50%.
In the first round, Jackson received the most votes with 47.6%. Scaro had the fewest votes which disqualified him from the next round of voting. Before the second round began, Scaro gave a concession speech and urged his supporters to support Jon Stewart.
The second round resulted in a tie vote, something which shocked many in the audience. Both Jackson and Stewart had 49.58% of the vote. One person voted “none of the above.” At that point, State Chairman Lex Green told the audience they would continue voting until there was a winner — even if that meant going 36 rounds.
Before the third round began, candidates scrambled to get their supporters in the room. The rules required that all voting members be physically present in the room once the ballots started being distributed. 126 people voted in the third round, which was 5 more than had voted in the second round. 64 was deemed the majority.
Kash Jackson won the third round with 65 votes (51.57%). Stewart received 56 votes (44.44%). Four people voted “none of the above” and one person did not vote. Stewart gave a concession speech followed by a speech from Jackson.
“For every naysayer that tells you their vote doesn’t matter, you were here when history was made and you got to see where one vote matters. Your vote matters.” Jackson promised that the Libertarian Party would get over 5% of the vote in the general election. 5% is the threshold at which a political party becomes an established political party in Illinois. It is a goal that third-parties aim for.
After that came the Lieutenant Governor race. Sanj Mohip and David Earl Williams III faced off. Mohip easily won with 72.95%.
There were also uncontested races.
Mike Leheney was selected for Treasurer.
Claire Ball was selected for Comptroller.
Bubba Harsy was selected for Attorney General.
Steve Dutner was selected for Secretary of State.
That means the Libertarian Party could have a a full slate with a candidate in every statewide contest.
Their next hurdle will be to collect 25,000 signatures, a number 5 times higher than is required of the Democratic and Republican parties.
Petitioning starts on March 27th and lasts three months.
Langfelder remains confident in his Township merger question
Springfield is on its way to eliminating a unit of government. Capital Township, which is coterminous with the City of Springfield, is moving towards consolidation. Currently, Sangamon County is trying to get the township to merge with the county. But Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is pushing the effort for the township to be merged into the city.
The County’s effort had strong momentum going for it before the election. Both the township board and the county have approved the merger. To further solidify their mandate, they put a non-binding question on the November 6th ballot. That question asked if the county and township should pursue a full merger. The effort passed with 75 percent support, or 31,800 votes.
Despite the progress the County’s effort is making, Langfelder still thinks the city should take over the township. He remains confident that voters will support his ballot question. But that support will have to come in two parts. Because the Springfield City Council declined to endorse his question, Langfelder will need signatures to get on the April ballot at all, in addition to getting votes on Election Day.
Republicans Davis and LaHood hold onto congressional seats
Both Congressmen who serve the Springfield area retained their seats last night. Darin LaHood (R-18) and Rodney Davis (R-13) will be going back to Washington DC. LaHood had a decisive victory with 67.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Junius Rodriguez who took 32.5 percent. Davis had a much closer race. He won out over Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by a margin of just 3,700 votes.
But Illinois Congressional races generally went towards the Democrats. The 6th District went to Sean Casten over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Lauren Underwood came out over Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th. These races were part of the Democrats retaking of the US House of Representatives. Illinois now has 13 Democratic and 5 Republican Congressional Representatives.
Even in the races they won, Republicans have reasons to be concerned. LaHood received 57,000 fewer votes in his rematch against Rodriguez than he did in 2016. Rodriguez’s total dropped just 3,000 votes. Davis faced a similar situation. Where the Democrats actually gained 5,000 votes in the 13th, Davis’ total declined by 52,000.
While a win is a win, even these high points of last night’s election should be worrying to the Illinois Republican Party.
Sales tax and township consolidation propositions pass
In addition to the candidates running for office, there were several questions on the ballot for voters in Sangamon County. One question was if Capital Township should be consolidated with Sangamon County. The other was if there should be a one percent sales tax to help schools pay for facility improvements.
Both questions passed. The township question passed handily with 75 percent of the vote. The sales tax was approved much more narrowly, 53 to 47 percent.
Because it was a non-binding question, the township vote will do nothing by itself. It will, however, strengthen the case for the county and township to consolidate.
The sales tax referendum was a binding question, and will go into effect July of 2019. It is expected to raise about $10 million for District 186, and another $10 million for other districts in Sangamon County.